Organization:  Austin Pets Alive!
Position:  Senior Director of Strategic Communications
About the Organization:

Austin/American/Texas Pets Alive! is a multi-functional organization, tackling the problem of unnecessary killing of pets. Austin Pets Alive! directly intervenes by taking in animals through rescue to our Austin location, treating them and finding new homes. American Pets Alive! intervenes in the process of euthanasia in other shelters by providing crisis and disaster support, shelter assessments, education and training for workers in government shelters on how to end the killing; and through root cause amelioration by changing the government system in which shelters operate by providing tools to prevent unnecessary separation of pets from the people who already love them (which then prevents overcrowding and killing in shelters), as well as providing legislative support and public awareness.

The Senior Director of Communications and Marketing is responsible for directing, managing and implementing the communications priorities to support the three local, statewide and national advocacy, marketing and political entities. The Senior Director of Communications and Marketing Is responsible for leading the strategy and direction of the Communications department’s campaigns that support organizational initiatives and engage supporters in a way that leverages and demonstrates the political, legislative advocacy, and grassroots power of Austin Pets Alive!. This role will oversee communications strategy, guidance, and support for all aspects of the work, including fundraising, innovative digital campaigns, electoral work, proactive and reactive earned media efforts, social media and crisis communications.

More About Us
The Texas Pets Alive! arm works to foster and preserve a social and political climate in Texas favorable to ensuring families are valued, including nonhuman family members, through legislative advocacy, grassroots organizing, and electoral activity, to elevate the importance of caring for nonhuman community members. The work at Pets Alive! is fast-paced and deals with complex and high-priority matters related to life and death, the need to raise almost all funds through the public, shelter worker rights and the deplorable condition of many government funded shelters in Texas. We imagine a world where animal services are nestled under social services and animals are no longer considered outside the family or community unit (the Human Animal Support Services Project of AmPA), where simply needing assistance from a government agency doesn’t result in unnecessary exposure to disease and possible death, where people, whether pet owners or not, who love animals have a voice in shaping how government prioritizes the care and treatment of nonhuman community members.

Pets Alive!’s theory of change focuses on engaging and empowering the shelter industry, engaging all sectors of the public and expanding the agendas of legislators locally, regionally and federally. This work brings representation to what most Americans already appreciate- that nonhuman family members are just that-- family, and should be treated accordingly for the support they bring to mental health, child development, anti-violence efforts and more. It brings representation to the idea that nonhuman family members are not pests in need of extermination, as was once believed nationally and still is present operationally in government shelters, but are part of a human animal bond that requires social services interventions when unnecessary separation is imminent and are part of a pet population that has dwindled well below the demand of potential pet owners.

Job Description:

This is a senior-level role. In this position, you will have the opportunity to:

Strategy Development and Coordination: Collaboratively lead the development and implementation of a comprehensive communications strategy for the organization by soliciting cross-departmental and stakeholder feedback. Provide strategic communication guidance and support for the organizations to elevate services and education programs. Create and drive communications plans, responses, and materials, and ensure quality control of all assets. In conjunction with national-level and affiliate-level staff, formulate objectives, target audiences, key messages, tactics, timeline, and evaluation of communications plans and campaigns.

Media Relations, Digital and Messaging Development:  Work closely with Austin Pets Alive! affiliates and external coalition partners to develop and deliver a consistent, unified message. Proactively and regularly pitch stories to publishers, journalists, and editorial board staff. Produce content for and disseminate traditional affirmative media relations assets such as media advisories, statements, and press releases, ensuring they meet the organization's brand and overall message frame and goals. Review and edit materials to ensure that it reflects communications goals and strategies, is legally compliant and conforms with the Austin Pets Alive! style and branding guides. Cultivate and maintain relationships with key media contacts locally and nationally. Provide media training for affiliate spokespeople, and staff interviews as needed. Develop, manage and execute various strategies for mobilizing supporters over all digital channels, including: web, social media, mobile, text and email. Create and direct digital organizing campaigns that engage supporters to win urgent and sometimes contentious issues while also driving longer term work of deepening engagement and building a multi-generational and diverse movement. Generate and present digital marketing reports and analyses for feedback. Develop reporting tools and systems for reporting on pipeline completion in all engagement communications pathways that engage supporters.

Staff Management: Manage a diversely skilled communications team to ensure they meet goals, and are coached for growth and long term career development. Oversee the day to day activities of employees within the communications department. Build a comprehensive set of KPIs that reflect the true needs of the organization, with standard marketing KPIs playing a secondary role; such as tracking the number of people who sign up to foster and take a pet (or even better, a more needy pet) after engaging with our messaging. Build a plan to integrate the Marketing and Communications team more thoroughly into daily life across all Pets Alive entities - continuing to grow a proactive, scrappy “beat reporter” type culture and removing any semblance of a more passive “receive news and polish” culture.

Project Management and Execution (project on the table right now below): Lead a joint effort of board, consultants and leadership staff to build a cohesive narrative framing APA, AmPA, HASS and TPA’s efforts together. Within the first 30 days, utilize that narrative to build an annual strategy to solidify the narrative in the minds of all stakeholders associated with the organization. Lead the national marcom effort to institute permanent change in the public perception of what animal shelters do and don’t do as public service, reframe animal services as a social service serving human and nonhuman family members. Understand the value of community needs assessments, broadcast results and build a plan to engage the public in dashboards and govt report card usage. Develop strategy and oversight plan for contracted support staff who will work directly with partner shelters across the country to increase the community support of HASS, fosters, donations and adoptions.

Candidate Qualifications:

At least 5 years of directly-related experience, including management experience. Deep appreciation for the mission of Austin/American/Texas Pets Alive! and enthusiasm for public policy, public campaigns and advocacy and a vision for how communications work supports advocacy goals.

Demonstrated ability to develop communications plans that are ambitious and achievable, and that both deepen public understanding/awareness about critical issues and promote the organizations. Ability to develop effective and inclusive messaging that brings together pet lovers, government agencies and funders.

  • Superb writing and editing skills.
  • Strong project management skills, including the ability to manage and track multiple projects at once.
  • Knowledge of the political and electoral landscape and legislative process
  • Sharp media instincts and experience managing complex media stories and narratives.
  • Advanced knowledge of social media, email marketing and production of digital materials (written, graphical and video).Willing and able to work a flexible schedule, including some evenings and weekends.
  • Experience working with a diverse workforce and with/for under-resourced communities.
  • Awareness of and proficiency with communications technologies.
  • Experience in stakeholder/community engagement and grassroots advocacy.
  • Clear and concise communication with team members and senior management.Collaborative work style; able to facilitate amongst diverse communities and individuals.
  • Enjoys operating in a fast-paced and demanding environment, a nimble and flexible work style.

EXPECTATIONS: Must embody APA!'s core values of innovation, respect, drive, resourcefulness, and inclusion. Commitment to APA!'s customer experience expectations. Willing and committed to working well with volunteers and staff in all roles.

WORKING RELATIONSHIPS: The position reports to the President and CEO and supervises 7 employees.

LOCATION(S) Town Lake Animal Center (TLAC) Campus, located at 1156 West Cesar Chavez, Austin, Texas 78703Remote considered for extremely qualified candidates. Must live in Texas (Austin preferred).May travel to other locations as needed

SALARY RANGE TRANSPARENCY: This position is full-time with a salary of $80,000-$120,000 USD per year. The base salary range represents the low and high end of the salary range for this position. Actual salaries will vary depending on factors including but not limited to experience, education and performance. The range listed is just one component of APA!’s total compensation package for employees.

BENEFITS: Austin Pets Alive! is proud to offer a competitive benefits package for full-time employees, including up to 95% subsidy on employer sponsored medical coverage, up to 2% match on 401(K) retirement plan, subsidized and voluntary life insurance, voluntary dental, vision and short term disability options, all effective the first day of employment. We also offer voluntary wellness and emergency sick plans, supplemental benefits, subsidized pet insurance, flexible spending accounts and additional life coverage. Full-time employees receive 6 paid holidays and accrue 10 days paid time off during the first year of employment, with a third week of PTO accrual upon completion of 12 months of employment. Employee’s will also receive professional development opportunities through APA!’s ongoing mission to advance our animal welfare professionals in our life saving work.

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES AND ACCOMMODATIONS STATEMENT: Austin Pets Alive! is an equal employment opportunity employer and we value having staff who come from communities that are most impacted by the issues we engage on. We especially encourage people of color, LGBTQ people, women, transgender and gender non-conforming people, and people with disabilities to apply. Austin Pets Alive! does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Austin Pets Alive! is committed to creating a dynamic work environment that values diversity and inclusion, respect and integrity, community focus, and innovation. APA! is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities in the employment application process. To request an accommodation, please contact Talent Acquisition at [email protected] at least one week in advance of your interview.

How to Apply:  Apply online with resume and cover letter at: